For a long time Frank Henelotter's 1982 film Basket Case sat in the instant queue on Netflix. The plot of the movie was so ridiculous that it seemed like it was worth a shot. While at work, I (Chuck) heard from a coworker that had recently watched the film. He said it was a silly movie with some blood, and he thought that Mike and I would enjoy it. That same night, I picked up the latest edition of Fangoria, and there was a special mention of the movie in an article about Herschell Gordon Lewis. After deciding to take a break on our run through of the Hellraiser and A Nightmare On Elm Street series, we decided to finally watch this movie. And boy are we glad we did.
Quick Spoiler Free Summary
Basket Case is about a man named Duane Bradley who arrives in Times Square carrying a mysterious wicker basket. It is soon found out that inside the basket is his deformed ex-Siamese twin, Belial. Duane and Belial go on a murderous rampage to seek revenge on the doctors that forcibly separated them at the age of 12. We follow Belial and Duane on their blood-soaked path pf destruction on their quest for ultimate vengeance.
The plot of this movie was so fantastically absurd. The main reason the two of us watched this film is because the idea of a man and his ex-Siamese twin going on a killing rampage is too ludicrous to pass up. Not only is the plot ridiculous, but it is brilliantly executed. This movie was not the "so-bad-its-good" horror movie that we thought it was going to be.
The acting in this film was standard fare for the early 80's horror movie. It seemed as though every character in the film belonged to an insane asylum. It seemed like every actor was referencing Aunt Martha from Sleepaway Camp with their abnormal speech patterns. This, however, was not enough to make us turn it off, but it actually added to the atmosphere of the movie.
Special Effects/Gore- 4/5
One of the best parts of the movie was when stop motion animation to portray a scene with Belial trashing a hotel room. If there were any parts of this film that were "so-bad-its-good," it would be this scene. I thought that the Belial puppet was well done with what it was, but Mike thought that it was terrible, and he loved it because of that. There were also lots of natural effects in terms of gore. One scene in particular where a flayed piece of flesh hung realistically off of a man's face was impressive. The rest of the gore for the kills were top notch, eventually giving inspiration to Sean Cunningham's iconic film Friday the 13th.
To us, this film just wasn't scary. We're sure that there are loads of people in the world that would get a little creeped out by this movie, but it just did nothing special for us. This is not a negative however, because although we weren't scared, we were most definitely entertained.
In Conclusion- 4/5
Wow. It has been far too long since we sat down and watched a movie that neither us have seen and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed. From beginning to end, Basket Case was an entertaining romp through 1980's B-movie horror. The over the top plot and superb gore led to an unforgettable experience that led us to watch the rest of the series in one day. Watch it, you won't regret it.